AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - The "forgotten war" in Tigray: the testimony of the Salesians on the dramatic humanitarian situation

Thursday, 18 March 2021 wars   refugees   displaced persons   solidarity   missionaries  


Addis Abeba (Agenzia Fides) - Little news has come from the Ethiopian province of Tigray, where war has been raging between the Ethiopian armed forces and the militias of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) since November.
The Salesians of Don Bosco who work there describe a dramatic humanitarian situation: "Since the outbreak of the war on November 4, 2020, many people have lost their lives or property, many are homeless and thousands of people are fleeing bombs and shootings and become refugees or displaced people in their own country. Rich and poor stand at our door every day and ask for something to eat in order to survive", reports the Don Bosco Salesian News Agency. "On the evening of November 20, 2020 (the day the fighting reached Adua), many lifeless bodies were lying on the streets and many wounded tried to escape the war.
These past few months have been dark, because for more than two months people have not had electricity, water, networks, food, etc. We thank God that we have a well in our complex which, thanks to the generator, can benefit thousands of people who come every day from early morning to get water", said the Salesians from Don Bosco on the development of the situation.
The missionary organizations do everything possible to assist internally displaced people who "fled to Adua from remote places such as Setit Humera, Kafta Humera, Mereb, Segede". In particular, the Missionaries of Charity (MC) and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) work in at least 5 centers that host the displaced. The Sisters and religious of the Salesians of Don Bosco distribute food together among the displaced. Around 2,200 to 2,600 people are supplied with sandwiches every day. The Salesians also provide the displaced with other resources and call for donations. The war created a major humanitarian crisis affecting at least 4.5 million people. In total there are over 2 million internally displaced persons and tens of thousands of refugees have sought protection in neighboring Sudan. The conflict could spread to other regions of Ethiopia and the neighboring states of Eritrea and Sudan, causing a humanitarian crisis of even more dramatic proportions.
Meanwhile, Médecins Sans Frontières denounced the deliberate destruction and looting of health centers in Tigray; in a statement sent to Agenzia Fides it is stated that "out of 106 health facilities visited by MSF teams between mid-December and early March, almost 70% were looted and more than 30% damaged; only 13% worked normally". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 18/3/2021)